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Tasmania's green jobs vision celebrated in Wesley Vale commemoration.



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Christine Milne

Australian Senate Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania

media release

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Tasmania's green jobs vision celebrated in Wesley Vale commemoration

The 20th anniversary of the campaign that saved Tasmania's rich Wesley Vale farmlands and inspired the creation of the 'clean, green' jobs direction for Tasmania will be celebrated in a re-union of farmers and concerned citizens on Sunday 15 March at Port Sorell.

On March 15, 1989 the Wesley Vale campaign ended when Noranda and North Broken Hill cancelled plans to build a massive polluting pulp mill, thereby saving some of the most productive farmland in Australia from generations of environmental pollution.

It ended an 18-month people’s campaign, which had generated national and international attention - and began the era of 'clean, green Tasmania' as an alternative to the woodchipping industry.

Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne was the young and inexperienced spokesperson for CROPS (Concerned Residents Opposing Pulp Mill Siting) at the time, and says the campaign was a turning point in Tasmania’s environmental and economic history.

“The Wesley Vale campaign built on the Franklin River campaign and was the turning point for Tasmania's economic direction,” Senator Milne said.

“A new economic and political direction for the state -Tasmania 'clean and green' - was on the table with five Green Independents catapulted into the Tasmanian Parliament to advance it.”

“Protecting the environment as the basis for future economic prosperity based on clean air, clean water and uncontaminated soil as well as wilderness, was fresh thinking compared to the industrial resource-based past promoted by successive Liberal and Labor governments.”

“It was also the first time that farmers took to the streets to protect their land. The tractor rally in Devonport in June 1988 remains an outstanding example of a rural community demanding that first-class agricultural land be protected from industrial development.”

“CROPS included Tasmanians of all ages and political beliefs. It was joined by farming and fishing organisations as well as environment groups in a common cause to protect forests, fisheries, farmlands and rural communities from industrial pollution and a political system intent on riding roughshod over their interests.”

Senator Milne said that at the height of the campaign, more than 10,000 people rallied through the streets of Hobart, all outraged by the proposal and the efforts of the then Liberal Premier Robin Gray to fast track it through the Parliament - "A lesson not learned by the current Tasmanian Government.”

“Tasmanians who want to join the CROPS campaigners to mark the 20th anniversary, are very welcome at Port Sorrell on the 15th. It will be a great day for reflecting on the campaign and for expressing hope for the future prosperity of a jobs-rich clean, green Tasmania.”

 

Contact: Melissa Donchi on (03) 6224 8899 or 0408 517 050